Every time I hear about the millions of children going hungry everyday I think of the approximately 70% of the kids that go to school in District #150 and get their lunches paid courtesy of the taxpayers. I spend quite a bit of time driving various parts of Peoria and hardly ever see a garden. Why not? Almost every house has space to plant something edible. My mother raised nine kids and the gardens we planted, weeded, sprayed and harvested produced most of what we ate. My mother canned and stored and the kids all worked the land. We only had time to play after the work was done. The nine of us and our children did and will carry this work ethic to our graves. Thanks again, mom and dad!!
In this country, I believe that anyone physically able to work will not starve. But if they grow up with no work ethic, it is easier for them to beg or take food from all those agencies who often justify their existence by “feeding the poor”.
I visited a social agency well known for their work with the poor. I noted the neglected areas around the building and ask why those who were getting everything free were not required to help with house and area cleaning. I was told by the administrator, that she could not ask these people to help for fear of workman compensation claims they might file if they claimed they were injured. I no longer donate anything to this agency except thru the Optimist Club whose motto is “Friends of Youth”.
I visit quite a few school classrooms every year and observe the kids in their study and performance. What I see is quite a large number of lazy kids, some who leave their books in their lockers and won’t even go get them; they’d rather sit and do nothing. One class I visited in District #150 a couple of weeks ago had an experienced substitute teacher overseeing kids reading a paperback novel out loud. I asked why only half of the kids had the book. (The work plan left by the absentee teacher was for each kid to read a certain portion of a paperback novel). One half the kids didn’t bring their book to the classroom so they just sat, talked and moved about the room. The substitute teacher never said anything, actually sat at his desk and made notes and occasionally gave a note to a student to take to the office. There was no discussion about what was being read, no correction in grammar, no help in enunciation, and in general the teacher was like a well paid baby-sitter doing a poor job. This overall lousy attitude stems from the lack of a work ethic for all involved. And for this we are paying $10,000.00 a head, (this figure was in a local paper recently)many heads in which little is being put that will make them employable with the ability to support a family in the near future?? (A recent article said that 50% of all teen age girls in our country have been pregnant at least once by the age of nineteen).
Right here in rivercity with millions being spent on leisure and enhancements we are creating situations where thousands of kids do not know how to work, how to study, or how to behave. We blame it all on those who try to raise these kids. I agree, but the public school system is failing if teacher, principals, administration and the board cannot keep discipline in the classroom and help teach a work ethic.
Some of the teachers have no idea how to interest these kids in what is going on in the real world and some of these teachers are just marking time for their retirement and benefits. Ever since Dr. Strand and a gullible board and community leaders abolished vocational education, establishing academies as a substitute, District #150 has been going downhill. (They failed to recognize the changing demographics, attempting to teach like everyone was going to college and have an easy white collar job). Also, mandated standardized tests have acerbated the decline by causing teachers to teach kids who aren’t interested, to pass tests that aren’t realistic. When kids don’t pass these tests with high enough scores, these schools are then put on state watch lists. Every time a student misses classes for any reason, the schools have these absences deducted from state financial funding. No wonder so many classrooms are out of control!!
I believe that the majority of the present school board and administration realize the serious situation that exists in many of the middle and high schools but I don’t believe some local governments and community leaders are doing much classroom visiting to get first hand observations. If they would visit some of these classrooms at random, they might show more concern. As I said in recent articles, time is running out on Dist. #150 and if a mistake is made similar to the last one in hiring a new administrator, this community is in very serious trouble. This person that the board does hire, should be a compassionate tough administrator who better have a degree in business. We have enough educators on board or available to be called on in this community. This person also should be a strong supporter of Voc/Tech or this community will soon be without a local workforce to attract and hold new businesses.
A friend of mine, who is as much or more interested in District #150 than I, will be visiting schools as a team and on this site I plan to post my observations naming the schools visited and those in authority. I will praise those who are trying their best and point out the successes and failures we observe, but only after discussion with those in authority.
I still have confidence in the system and support all the present administration in their efforts to get on top of the situation.
Good luck to all of us but there is much hard work and many hard actions and hard thinking ahead which must involve the entire community, even those who send their kids to private schools!